Pedestrian & Bus Accidents FAQ
Q. What are the most common reasons for accidents involving buses?
A. Some of the most common causes for bus accidents are:
- Inadequate training of the driver
- Exceeding the capacity of the bus or carrying excess baggage
- Failing to maintain equipment—brakes, brake lights, signals, etc.
- Driving a bus when conditions are poor—foggy, icy, heavy rain, snowing
- Driving when fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or narcotics
- Speeding or reckless driving
Q. How common are pedestrian and bus accidents?
A. Each year about 20 school-aged pedestrians are involved in fatal accidents with school buses. Almost half of these accidents involve the child colliding with the front of the bus.
Q. Who is held at fault in a bus accident?
A. In most cases, the bus driver can be held at fault. Depending on circumstances the transportation company, the bus owner, local government, bus manufacturer and even manufacturers of components in the bus may be held liable for damages.
Q. What can I expect if I am injured in a mass transit bus accident?
A. You can expect a representative from mass transit to request an interview. Before granting an interview, you should speak with an attorney so that you know what you should and shouldn’t say. If you have spoken with investigators already, it can still be worth discussing your case with an attorney, who can launch a separate investigation into events.
You can also expect to have to submit a report that verifies that you were present at the time of the injury. You may need assistance tracking down witnesses and proof that you were indeed where you claim you were, especially if you have waited to initiate your case.
Q. If I or a loved one is killed or injured in a bus accident, what are my legal rights?
A. You may be eligible to seek personal injury or wrongful death compensation.
Q. If I am involved in a pedestrian accident, what should I do?
A. Don’t leave the scene of the accident unless it is in an ambulance. If you are able to do so, get the information of the person involved in the accident—name, address, phone number, drivers license number and expiration date, vehicle license plate, registration and insurance company and policy number. Also get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident (this includes passengers in the vehicle). Call the police and wait for them to arrive. If they don’t come to the scene, file a report immediately. You will want to contact your insurance company and make them aware of the accident. It is important to remember that even if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you need to report the incident to the police and to your insurance company.
Q. If I cross the street outside of a crosswalk, does this mean I waive all rights for damages?
A. In the state of Washington, drivers must consider every corner to have a crosswalk, even if there are no lines painted. While it makes sense to look both ways and be defensive as a pedestrian, drivers are supposed to stop for you if you are standing at an intersection. If there are traffic signals at the intersection, you are required to obey them.
Q. I was hit by a uninsured motorist. Is there anything I can do?
A. Your auto insurance policy can assist you as long as you have uninsured motorist coverage (which is mandatory in Washington state for all cars). This is why you must report any accident involving a car, whether you were in your car or on your feet.
Q. If I am involved in a pedestrian accident, what damages can I recover?
A. You can seek to recover any medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Author: Rob Kornfeld